cover image Strega Nona Takes a Vacation

Strega Nona Takes a Vacation

Tomie dePaola. Putnam Publishing Group, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23562-7

There's no rest for a talented strega. At least that's what dePaola's (26 Fairmont Avenue) beloved Italian witch, Strega Nona, concludes in her latest romp. Strega Nona has been dreaming of childhood vacations spent at the seashore with her Grandma Concetta, and in her waking hours, she's distracted, wondering what her dream means. After she nearly confuses several remedies, the villagers recognize the problem: ""It looks like Strega Nona needs a vacation."" Strega Nona gets the message after Grandma Concetta again visits in a dream, and soon she packs her bags and heads for Concetta's old seaside cottage, leaving her assistantsDsweet, bumbling Big Anthony and practical BambolonaDin charge. She enjoys fishing, swimming and watching sunsets, and sends gifts, candy for Big Anthony and bubble bath for Bambolona. But when Bambolona takes charge of the parcel, she takes the candy for herself and hands the bubble bath to Big Anthony. The resultsDtroublesome and very sudsyDare conveyed almost entirely visually, in warm panel art. The breezy text, peppered with Italian words, hums along as dePaola's sunny, airy acrylics demonstrate his fondness for these favorite characters and the old-world setting. Strega Nona, happily, proves as magical as ever. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)